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Morocco to Hold Early Elections in November


A Moroccan post her ballot at a voting station in Sale, near Rabat, July 1, 2011

A Moroccan post her ballot at a voting station in Sale, near Rabat, July 1, 2011

Morocco's government says it will hold early parliamentary elections in mid-November following delicate negotiations between the Moroccan interior ministry and some of the country's political parties, which had argued that more time was needed to prepare.

Morocco's King Mohammed has called for prompt parliamentary elections so the country can create a new government.

In early July, Moroccans overwhelming voted to adopt constitutional reforms that would curb the king's powers. The king proposed the constitutional changes in response to the country's so-called February 20 movement that has been holding regular protests to demand a parliamentary monarchy in the kingdom.

But critics say the new constitution still keeps King Mohammed firmly in power by allowing him to choose the prime minister from the winning party and continue to oversee the country's religious matters, security apparatus and judiciary.

The 47-year-old King Mohammed took the throne in 1999. During much of his rule, he has held virtually all power in the country and still sits as its top religious authority.

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